Quoting from this blog, Memorial Day 2011: “In the annals of the U.S. military there is no shortage of heroes. We can and should honor them all. But to humanize that process, to put a face on it, I suggest we all choose just one fallen warrior and perpetuate his or her memory by citing them by name, and recalling their deeds.”
Freddie Stowers was born January 12, 1896 in Sandy Springs, South Carolina. Prior to the outbreak of World War I he worked as a farmhand, was married, and had one daughter.
He was drafted into the Army in 1917, the same year that the United States joined the Great War. He was assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 371st Infantry Regiment, and sent to France.
By the fall of 1918, Stowers had advanced to the rank of Corporal, and the Armistice was only weeks away. Stowers and his unit were tasked to take Hill 188, in the Champagne-Marne sector of battle. On September 28 the enemy occupying the hill feigned surrender, prompting the American troops, including Stowers, to advance into No Man’s Land. As Company C approached within 100 meters of the trench line, the enemy re-engaged them with coordinated machine-gun and mortar fire, resulting in well over fifty percent casualties for the Americans, and a disintegration of their chain of command.
Corporal Stowers assumed command, and led a successful but costly charge on a machine-gun nest. Attempting a similar attack on another enemy position, Stowers was shot at least twice. He pressed on regardless, inspiring his men both with words and with his example, until he succumbed to loss of blood. Corporal Stowers gave his life for his country at the age of 22. He is buried at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial in Lorraine, northeastern France.
Corporal Freddie Stowers was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. His citation reads in part: Corporal Stowers’ conspicuous gallantry, extraordinary heroism, and supreme devotion to his men were well above and beyond the call of duty, follow the finest traditions of military service, and reflect the utmost credit on him and the United States Army.
Happy Memorial Day, and thanks and best wishes to service members everywhere.